SPOILER ALERT – I will most certainly be SPOILING
Veil is a new comic title by the creative minds of Greg Rucka and Toni Fejzula and published by Dark Horse. The most obvious place to start is the beginning, but in this case I feel the need to comment on the cover art. As most new comics sell themselves on the cover first, I found the cover to Veil interesting for two reasons. First, the majority of the coloring feels like an intentional use of too many watercolors. This particular trick always suggests a kind of disturbance, as if the crazy behind the page is infecting the perception of the reader. Second, the shadowing and the eyes on the girl named Veil are so reminiscent of the rats on the page; it lends her the same alien, untouchable aura that rats have in real life. These are genius decisions that really set the mood before you even crack the cover.
The comic opens with a determined collage of images, suggesting magic, debris, and decadence coalescing for some purpose. Presumably that purpose is Veil, lying abandoned or discarded on a subway platform, surrounded by rats. Her first sensation is pain, and “hurts” is her first word. Her verbal compulsion adds a significant bit of interest to a character who, beyond being naked and mysterious, offers no internal monologue or hint as to her purpose or motives.
The synchronized emergence of her need to state rhyming words and rhyming sentences with the first hint that perhaps Veil is more than she seems turn the interest in the character up to 11. The rather slight girl leaving a pair of locked iron gates in shambles only hints at what is to come.
Veil emerges onto the busy streets of the city, and quite possibly the worst area of the city for a naked out-of-sorts woman to be wondering. The following scene shows her apparent vulnerability and the introduction of her only ally, a gang-banger by the name of Dante who is the apparent bandit with a heart of gold.
This scene does more than to set the stage for later conflict. Veil’s odd way of talking begins to take on a rambling, but prophetic note. This note brings to mind the infamous black board notes from DC series Booster Gold. Unfortunately, until later issues come out, readers don’t have any way to parse apart what is prophecy and what is rambling.
The finale of this issue is preceded by a calm, with Dante awkwardly offering our protagonist clothes that clearly don’t fit. I cannot be sure, but I believe this calm offers up one of the themes this series will showcase.
“….They’re good people. Yeah, they still exist, believe it or not…”
Dante goes in search of a belt and shoes, band-aids for his inadequately fitting clothing. Suspense spikes as Veil’s eyes widen and she sprints for the door, exclaiming “Rats.”
The door opens to reveal the dangers of the street have followed her to Dante’s apartment, demanding the vile deeds they feel entitled to. It is unclear if Veil reacts the way she does solely in self defense, or if she is also defending Dante, but her reaction is surely definitive.
With the power of her mind, Veil forces the leader of the small band of would be assailants to end the other two, and then, in front of Dante, himself. In an endearing twist, Dante does not react in abject fear, but continues to try and protect her.
Veil #1 is a terribly interesting read. Offering enough intrigue and questions with one hand, and a powerful and broken protagonist on the other, I found myself drawn deeper and deeper. The events of the issue seem to obfuscate the fact that magic is heavily implied in the opening pages, and I am unsure if this is intentional or not. Also, with Veil’s powers unexplained thus far, it is easy to question if Dante is helping her on his own accord or not. This is a title I would suggest to my hardiest of comic reading friends, and I know I’ll be anxiously awaiting next month’s issue.
My Rating: 4.5/5